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Health & Science

Lead Testing in Erie County Reveals Higher Levels of Exposure in Children Than Anticipated

Deteriorating Paint
Tim Rudell
/
WKSU
Old Lead Paint Deteriorating

The Erie County Health Department says results from a spring testing program are showing elevated lead levels in the blood of far more local children than expected. 

The tests, at the annual Sandusky area Wightman Wieber Kids Festival involved 90 children. Bob England of the health department says while none had lead poisoning, 41 had lead in their systems at five-times background-level, or more.  The likely source?

“Well our assumption is lead-based paint.  The homes that many of these kids reside in were constructed before 1978, most of them before 1950.”

Sandusky, Ohio area
Credit Ken Winters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - / U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library
/
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library
Aerial View of Sandusky area

England says breathing dust from deteriorating paint is an issue, as is chipped paint.

“Lead paint is also delicious to kids as well because it’s sweet.  So, if they taste a chip, it tastes like candy.”

The testing is part of $1.6 million HUD grant for lead abatement in Erie and Lorain counties.